I live in Imus, Cavite and most of my work takes me to the esteemed urban territories of Manila, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, and even Alabang, Muntinlupa. having attended schools outside of my beloved hometown since preschool, I think I’ve spent a third (or more) of my life aboard a four-wheeled vehicle, either stuck in traffic, or speeding to a destination or on our way home. so, my first series of reviews will be on the major highways i have gotten to know intimately throughout the course of my life.
This is probably the longest stretch of road i regularly travel on– stretching from the end of Coastal Road (AKA Aguinaldo Ave.– at least according to the sign posted at the exit of Macapagal Ave.– but does that mean it’s still Aguinaldo H-way? it’s confusing), where Roxas Blvd. begins, to the Tagaytay Rotunda (where i think it ends, but i still have to verify that).
it is most notorious for its ridiculously heavy traffic during morning and evening rush hours among the residents of Cavite. having lived with it all my life, i figure that it’s either i leave for work to early or too late.
if i’m lucky, i’ll catch the “buhos” or counterflow scheme wherein all the southbound vehicles are stopped at the end of Coastal Road so that northbound vehicles will get free-reign of the high way, then vice versa. Personally, while it is very gratifying to be speeding down the road, when I do catch it on effect, and thereby getting to my destination faster than expected, the “buhos scheme” needs to be rethought by the traffic enforcers because it’s just a temporary solution to a problem that’s threatening to be permanent—not to mention frustrating when you’re caught on the other side of the “buhos,” which is the “ipon,” where you have to wait for half an hour before you can move on. it feeds on the instant gratification mentality that we Filipinos need to be cured of. What we need is a wider road (because the h-way is just four lanes wide! but on really bad days, there are six lanes, albeit still being four lanes wide.), better enforcement on the traffic laws, better public transportation regulation (there are just too many freaking jeeps and buses!) and perhaps a mass recall of public transportation drivers’ licenses.
This highway is also the site of too-numerous vehicular accidents and hit-and-runs. i have personally witnessed a body dripping with blood being carried off the road with the perpetrator nowhere in sight. my sister and my dad had actually seen a girl hit by a speeding owner-type jeep and the vehicle didn’t even slow down after it hit the girl! (my dad and several jeepney drivers who had witnessed the accident stopped and took the girl to the nearby hospital where she died shortly afterward…). my trauma surgeon friend in De La Salle University Hospital said that the most common ER cases are vehicle-related accidents. These accidents mostly happen during the “buhos” scheme, and at night.
There are three main causes of these accidents on Aguinaldo Highway.
- The PEDESTRIANS– while they are the victims, accidents involving them is still partly their fault. They just cross whenever and wherever and however they please! How can a driver avoid hitting him/her/them if they just step on the road, without looking, and often acting like they couldn’t get hit? As a former reckless pedestrian who became a driver, I now understand that drivers need more time to react to a person crossing the road. Hence, pedestrians, PLEASE, look both ways before crossing, do not cross when the car is going fast (it’s easy to tell, believe me), at night, make sure that the car’s headlights is just a dot in the distance before crossing, and if possible, wear brightly-colored clothes.
- the DRIVERS – the highway is just a four-lane road! Unless you still can’t tell from the potholes, this isn’t a racetrack. So drive in a reasonable speed, especially at night—when reckless pedestrians in black seem to enjoy taking their time crossing the road. Don’t weave in and out of traffic so much, while it seems cool to be doing that (I admit, I love doing it, especially in front of an audience), It. Is. Not. Safe.
- the GOVERNMENT – yes, I will blame the government, not just for the sucky “buhos scheme,” but also because I see a lot of street lamps that aren’t working! And there are billboards proclaiming the PAILAW NI GLORIA on Aguinaldo Highway, but where are the lights? Sure, the lampposts are there, and I’m sure it cost us taxpayers a lot of money, but how come they don’t turn on at night?! It’s really dark on the highway, so it’s hard to avoid pedestrians once they’re in front of you! (is my frustration starting to show?)
And finally, the potholes, especially during rainy season. They are horrible. They just pop out after the rain like mushrooms. Some of them are so deep that they nearly took a wheel off my car when I didn’t see one at night (because it’s too dark in the highway!). The right most lanes are half-crumbled into the dirt on the side of the road. While I must admit that the highway gets smoother and prettier, but narrower, as you progress more to the south (Silang and Tagaytay) that part of the road has nearly zero light at night.
POINTS OF INTEREST: The towns of Bacoor, Imus, Dasmarinas, Silang and Tagaytay City. There’s SM Bacoor, Robinson’s Imus, Robinson’s Dasmarinas, swimming resorts such as Four Steps Resort and Volets in Dasmarinas, The Riviera Country Club in Silang. There are more than hundreds of big and little eating places along the highway– from the mom and pop establishments, to fastfood (Mcdonald’s Jollibee, KFC, Pizza Hut etc.) to upscale places like Gourmet and Santi’s in Silang.
OVERALL GRADE: D
LAST WORDS AND RECOMMENDATION: I would avoid it if I could, but I can’t. Sometimes I take the back roads, but while they may have less traffic, they have more potholes, and they are scary at night. On a good time (or on Sundays), it’s the fastest route from Cavite to Metro Manila, or from my town to Tagaytay.
PERIPATEPI’s TRAVEL TIPS:
- To avoid accidents, drive like the other drivers don’t know the rules of the road, in other words DRIVE DEFENSIVELY.
- As for the potholes, when you see one, change lanes when it’s still far off, or slow down when you’re already there. DO NOT SWERVE—that would be stupid.
- For a fruitful stay in a traffic jam, bring a good book or good music, maybe even snacks or try make friends with your fellow victims.